Classic Goulash made in ONE POT with ground beef, bell pepper, onions, and elbow macaroni in a seasoned tomato sauce, ready in under 45 minutes!
Classic Goulash is one of my favorite old fashioned recipes, made with ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and macaroni in a seasoned tomato sauce with diced tomatoes. It’s perfect for busy weeknight dinners because all it takes is one pot and less than 45 minutes!
You can also add more flavor to this dish with spices like paprika, or vegetables like mushrooms or spinach. This is also a great recipe to make if you have leftover marinara sauce, and it’s always crowd-pleasing, which is why I love making it for put-lucks!
CAN YOU MAKE CLASSIC GOULASH AHEAD?
If I’m making goulash ahead, I like to cook the pasta according to package directions and set aside. Then I make the ground beef according to the recipe, and store everything in an airtight container in the refrigerator. I also like to store some extra sauce on the side, just in case it needs it when you reheat it later.
When you’re ready, sauté the goulash with the pasta in a skillet over medium-low heat, adding any extra sauce as necessary. Stir as needed until heated through, then serve.
WHAT IS AMERICAN GOULASH?
American goulash is a traditional mid-west dish to serve for dinner or take to a potluck. It’s made with really easy and available ingredients like pasta, ground beef, tomato sauce, and onion. You can also add some minced garlic or paprika to your American goulash, even though paprika is not traditionally used in this version.
American goulash is different from Hungarian goulash because the Hungarian goulash version is more like a stew made with ground meat, paprika, and sometimes additional vegetables and potatoes. Hungarian goulash is also referred to as Gulyas. Gulyas basically translates to cowboy in Hungarian, which is the perfect candidate to eat goulash soup.
CAN YOU FREEZE CLASSIC GOULASH?
You can freeze this goulash recipe, but if you’re making it ahead to freeze I recommend undercooking the macaroni slightly, then immediately removing from heat and letting it cool. That way when you go to reheat, the pasta will finish cooking all the way instead of becoming mushy. Defrost in the refrigerator the night before.
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WHAT ELSE CAN YOU ADD TO GOULASH?
MORE EASY DINNER RECIPES
- Cheesy Taco Pasta
- Tuna Noodle Casserole
- Easy Chicken Casserole
- Ultimate Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Vegetable Soup
- Easy Bacon Carbonara Pasta
TIPS FOR MAKING CLASSIC GOULASH
- You can top goulash with shredded cheese at the table, or chopped parsley.
- This goulash recipe calls for macaroni but you can also use egg noodles for this dish if that’s what you have.
- You can add more flavor by replacing the water in this goulash recipe with beef broth, so the pasta absorbs the flavor of the beef broth as it cooks.
- Add a cup of sour cream to make this goulash with a cream sauce. You can also add ½ cup of cheese while the goulash is still cooking instead.
- I’m using a can of diced tomatoes in this recipe, but you can chop fresh tomatoes if you want to.
- This goulash recipe is already seasoned but if you want even more flavor try adding a dash of paprika or garlic, or deglaze the ground beef with ¼ cup red wine.
- You can lighten this goulash up by using turkey instead of beef, and adding more vegetables in place of some of the pasta.
- You can make this recipe low sodium by omitting the salt, and using the low-sodium version of canned tomatoes and Worcestershire sauce.
- We’re not using any all purpose flour in this recipe, but if you want a thicken sauce then next time whisk 1-2 tablespoons of all purpose flour into the onions when they’re cooking, to make a roux. I wouldn’t add more than two tablespoons of flour, or the sauce may get too thick. If that happens, you can add a small amount of broth as well.
- You can replace the seasoning in this dish with simple Italian seasoning to save time.
- If your ground beef is sticking to the pan while browning, you can add a small amount of olive oil to the pan.
- 2 pounds ground beef (80/20)
- 2 yellow onions , chopped
- 1 green bell pepper , chopped
- 4 cloves garlic , chopped
- 3 cups water
- 29 ounces tomato sauce
- 29 ounces diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 8 ounces elbow macaroni , uncooked
- Add the ground beef, onions, bell peppers and garlic to a large dutch oven on medium-high heat and cook it breaking it apart until it is no longer pink, about 5-7 minutes.
- Drain most of the fat then add in the remaining ingredients except the macaroni, bring to a boil then reduce to a low heat and simmer with a cover on for 15 minutes.
- Add in the macaroni, mix well then cover and simmer an additional 20 minutes, stirring occasionally before serving